Scottish government announces £6m package to help farmers hit by weather
NewsThursday 02 May 2013
The Scottish government is offering help to the farmers who have been hardest hit by the recent snow during last year’s wet weather.
Richard Lochhead, the Rural Affairs Secretary, has announced a £6m package which will provide assistance to those who were hardest hit.
The recovery package will have its details developed by an industry group which will be chaired by Chief Agricultural Officer Drew Sloan.
This funding is also in addition to the £500,000 that has already been announced to help deal with the costs of fallen stock.
Mr Lochhead told the Farmers Guardian: “Mother nature has battered parts of Scotland in recent months with the worst snow in living memory coming hard on the heels of a miserably wet summer.”
He also went on to state that this is a major challenge that the industry faces, stressing that while farmers are used to operating in volatile conditions, these more recent problems are adding plenty of extra stress.
He said: “The severe weather - which hit when ewes were lambing and at a time when some stock was already weakened by previous poor weather – has led to severe losses for some farmers.
After speaking to a number of farmers Mr Lochhead has claimed to have discovered a large number of problems that the weather has caused. He stressed that the issues didn’t solely revolve around livestock losses, but also crops that haven’t been harvested or planted and the issue of increased feed requirements at a time of rising prices.
He also said that the Scottish Government has acted quickly in order to provide assistance to farmers and said that they had been listening carefully to the industry as they assessed the scale of the problem.
When talking to Farmers Guardian, Mr Lochhead said that the £6m aid package was made available to those who were hardest hit, but he also made it clear that it has been difficult to quantify the amount due to some farmers still counting the cost.
The number of fallen stock collections for sheep was up 50% in April when compared to last year, and they were also up 25% for cattle.
A team of industry experts will further develop the details of the aid scheme and will meet for the first time next week. And this group will work hard to ensure that the aid is targeted at those people who need it most, offering them a lifeline to help pull them back to their feet.